20 Business Ideas To Start In South Africa

What are the best small business opportunities in South Africa today?

Africa has some of the best business ideas in South Africa, and the World Bank ranked this country as an upper-middle-income economy. Not only that, but she also has an excellent position on the Ease of Doing Business Rank.

South Africa remains the largest economy in Africa, except for a brief period in 2015 when it went behind Nigeria in terms of the size of GDP.

With a population of over 53 million people, South Africa is a growing middle-income class society, with her nationals having increasing amounts of cash to spend as disposable income.

20 Profitable Business Ideas To Start In South Africa

Business opportunities exist in South Africa due to her human and natural endowments and her strategic position as a gateway to different parts of the world through which international shipping and trade occur.

Here are some solid opportunities to invest in.

For the savvy investor, the following are business ideas and opportunities that can be exploited in South Africa: 

1. Real Estate

With a booming economy and many of her nationals crossing over into the middle-income class bracket, South Africa has seen demand for affordable housing infrastructure and construction over the years.

Depending on startup capital and level of expertise, the savvy business investor can either start with low-cost land and housing units or procure large land for significant constructions for private and corporate clients.

2. Continental Restaurants

South Africa is home to a diverse population mix that includes expatriates and other nationals, many of whom are visiting as tourists. There is, therefore, a concurrent demand for the provision of food and meals that can cater to the tastes and likes of these different peoples.

The savvy investor can set up a restaurant and gourmet service with the right staff and structure to provide a wide variety of international cuisines in an amicable atmosphere and make handsome returns while at it.

3. Tourism

South Africa boasts captivating scenery and one of the world’s most diverse and extensive fauna and flora species.

Additionally, the climate in South Africa makes it appealing and conducive for visits to beaches and waterfalls. As a result of these endowments, South

Africa plays host to hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

This influx of people also means that associated business activities like shopping, financial transactions, transfers, and other related activities are increasing.

The savvy investor can set up businesses such as tourist resorts and spas, travel and holiday consultancy services, and other related services to cater to the needs of tourists and visitors that come on holiday. 

4. Freelance Writing

Clients from the Western World are on the lookout for freelance writers from other parts of the globe.

South Africa readily emerges as the first port of call in Africa, as her citizens are deemed to be native English language speakers as a result of her past ties to the United Kingdom.

The savvy investor, gifted with good speaking and writing ability, can set up a freelancing service consultancy to handle this demand from abroad.

The entrepreneur can set up a team of proven and gifted writers to handle a wide variety of writing tasks and assignments such as article writing, feature stories, short stories, and other valuable content at a reasonable charge.

5. Clothing and Textiles

South African textiles and clothing are made from the highest grade of cotton and are in demand worldwide.

The savvy investor can tap into this opportunity by acting as a sourcing agent for these materials and serving local and international markets.

6. Agriculture

South Africa has a climate supporting the growth of several crops and fruits. Areas for possible investment include the rearing of animals and crops and the cultivation of apples, grapes, and other fruits used in producing wines and other drinks.

Depending on the availability of capital, the entrepreneur can decide to cultivate a small expanse of land and increase capacity as the business grows.

7. Daycare Center

South Africa is witnessing a steady increase in the number of people whose earnings place them in the middle-income class. These individuals, especially working mums, need people to take care of their kids while at work.

The savvy investors can set up a daycare facility to cater to this need, especially on a large scale.

On the other hand, the entrepreneur could start small and reach agreements with individual clients, whereby the caregiver goes to the customers’ homes to take care of their young ones.

8. E-commerce Platform

Many South Africans embrace the culture of purchasing goods and services online. This is a result of improved financial transactions that are safe and secure.

The savvy investor can tap into this opportunity by creating an e-commerce trading platform for the consummation of transactions involving goods and services while earning handsome commissions and charges for facilitating the process. for

South Africa is an organized country where new investors can invest in different types of successful small businesses for beginners and expect a nice reward.

And if you need ideas regarding which top unique business and their peculiar challenges, here is a list of ideas for starting a business in SA.



Many people consume vegetables and meat daily.

We all know that vegetables are very healthy for the body and that meats are a good source of protein. Nevertheless, to avoid food poisoning, many are always careful about where they get their meat and vegetables.

Here is how you can start your big retail or franchise business opportunity.

Start a small food delivery and distribution business that supplies and brings meat and vegetables to people’s doorsteps.

Note, you need to work hard towards being reliable, so people can trust that the foods you are getting to them aren’t hazardous to their health.


Many South Africans are already aware of several accessible internet businesses that work.

You can draw their attention, turn them into an audience, and make lots of money from this great business idea. You can begin running an online magazine that offers unique content they won’t quickly get elsewhere.

To set up this low-cost online business opportunity, choose a niche you are good at and begin writing interesting topics on them. When you have your audience, you make money from subscriptions and advertisements on your website.


Many organizations have benefited immensely from this in many countries. You can look into it in South Africa as a foreigner too.

Go out with a good camera (or hire a photographer) and take pictures of beautiful sights and scenes and people and get them branded- then sell them on the internet for good money.


South Africa is a tourist center for tourists from around the world.

Many tourists haven’t been to the country before and will be glad if there is a trusted person that can pick them up from the airport and take them around.

You can make excellent money with this.

The internet is an excellent medium to make tourists know you offer these services in their countries. Give them the chance to book the service on the internet while they are yet to board the plane to South Africa.

You can set up this excellent tourism business to make serious money.


The fact is, business people always have to need to purchase tickets.

It might be a bus ticket, it might be an airline ticket, it might even be a movie ticket- people need tickets for different services. You can, online or offline, focus on selling those required tickets to people and even turn this simple business into a partnership.


Of course, some will regard waste management as a ‘dirty business. Nevertheless, waste management is a new profitable business that gives investors the chance to make big money.

This good business involves government registration processes, especially to get small business loans and funding for your start-up business.


The clothing and textile industry in the country is a very lucrative business idea for women.

The demand for South Africa-made clothing and textile products is high in the country and neighboring countries. This is one of the booming women’s business opportunities in SA right now.


South Africa’s demand for land and houses by individuals and businesses is rising. Therefore, as in many other countries, the property business is one very lucrative business opportunity.

Another thing we can say about this industry that made it peculiar is that you have everything needed to start somewhere with a bit of capital.


If you have the writing skill, you can use them to generate one of the most successful home businesses in South Africa today.

Yes, the internet has given you this excellent home-based opportunity. Many individuals and work-from-home businesses in America and Europe need freelance writers from other countries (to cut costs).

Once they know you are writing from South Africa, you already have an advantage over many others in this low capital high return business for youth and stay-at-home moms.

South Africa often tops the list of their preferred countries because it is usually regarded as a native English-speaking country.


The country is one of Africa’s largest markets for imported technology products such as PCs, smartphones, and tablet computers.

Those devices are in huge demand in South Africa, and new business investors can surely make lots of money by selling the latest products by global brands (you know, the likes of Apple, the likes of Samsung and Sony, and the rest)

This is one of the most viable import business ideas in South Africa for the men, women, working-class, unemployed youth, and the retired.

There are numerous opportunities in school transport, restaurant, construction, cleaning, consulting, and gym businesses in SA.

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